The Ontonagon Boulder was pried from its namesake riverbank a few miles upstream from the Lake Superior shoreline community of Ontonagon. Today, the two-ton mass of native copper resides at the Smithsonian, and Ontonagon’s mining heritage thrives now only in museums—especially since the nearby copper mine and smelter in White Pine closed in 1995. (Nowadays, White Pine is little more than a creepy ghost town of 1950s tract housing.)
Check out Ontonagon’s happier heyday at the worthwhile Ontonagon County Historical Museum (422 River St., 906/884-6165, www.ontonagonmuseum.org, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun.), a lavender building on M-38, downtown’s main street. The Historical Society’s biggest project these days has been restoring the 1866 Ontonagon Light, which replaced one of Lake Superior’s first lighthouses, built in 1853.
by Laura Martone from Moon Michigan, 3rd Edition, © Avalon Travel